It is just about 17 months (back in September 2013} since I wrote about a Microsoft offer to Education whereby Microsoft were offering 32 Gb versions of their original Surface RT 10 inch tablets to their educational institution customers at a discounted price of just under €200. At the time I considered that they represented good value for money for the following reasons:
- Wifi enabled 10 inch tablet device for browsing the internet, sending and receiving e-mails
- Flash support already built into IE 10 and Windows RT
- Skydrive cloud integration and the inclusion of Office 2013 RT apps (Word, Ecxel, Powerpoint and One Note)
- Free upgrade available to the much awaited Windows RT 8.1
As we have used Flash cloud based applications in our school (3P Learnings Mathletics, Reading Eggspress and Spelling City) for a number of years to promote learning at home using digital devices that many of our pupils have access to, we decided to purchase a set of 12 of these Surface RT devices for use in classrooms. They have proved to be excellent devices for the money for surfing the internet when researching for projects, using the cloud based applications already mentioned, creating and editing documents using the Office 2013 RT apps (Word, PowerPoint, One Note etc.) Battery life on the Surface RT with its ARM based processor has proved excellent, sufficient for a whole day’s use in school and no need for charging during the day. However, unfortunately for the teachers and pupils in our school our class set of Surface RT’s were stolen in a recent burglary in the school. Replacing the Surface RT tablets is presenting us with some difficulties as Microsoft are no longer selling Surface RT versions of their tablets. Microsoft announced in early 2015 that they were ending production of the Nokia Lumia 2520 which as far as I know was the last remaining tablet device shipping with Windows RT as its OS. Windows based tablets currently on the market such as Surface Pro etc. I fear will not have the same battery life which makes me wonder how suitable they will be for a whole day’s use in a school setting.
It is hard to believe that Windows RT’s days are already numbered for an OS that was only released at the end of October 2012. However, in line with Microsoft’s life cycle policy for existing RT users, security updates will be available for a minimum of four years after RT’s original release date.